Summary: God wants His people to get a glimpse of the future so as to live for the future!
Did you know that about 1/3 of the Bible is prophecy, about future events!
Why does God give us a glimpse of the future? Last week we noted at least 4 reasons why God gives us a glimpse of the future: 1. God is always in control! 2. It encourages us to be faithful, godly Christians. 3. Future events are tools we can use for evangelism. 4. God is the final judge!
And with these things in mind, we also noted that there is one reason we shouldn’t use in having knowledge of the future. Anyone remembers what we Christians shouldn’t do with our knowledge of the future??
Christians should not use knowledge from Scripture to condemn anyone! Truths must be given in love!
Please open your Bibles to Daniel 8. Before we read the entire chapter, let me read v15-17 which explains what the vision was about….
The vision is about the end times.
What can we note from this passage?
v1 tells us the date of the vision = 3rd year of Belshazzar’s reign
Why is this dating important? You see, some people say that prophecies in the Bible are actually not telling the future because they were written after the actual events happened. For a long time, nothing could be found archaelogically about King Belshazzar except for the Bible; but much facts proved King Nabonidus ruled the Babylonian Empire from 555-538BC. Then in 1853 an inscription was found in Ur (a city in the Middle East) mentioning Belshazzar as firstborn to Nabonidus. The Bible was again found true!
And so, the vision could not have been any later than 538BC.
Daniel was given a vision in v2-12. Interpretation was given in v19-25. Let’s look at the visions with the interpretations.
v3-4: 2 horned ram charged W, N, & S with great power
v20: two-horned ram = kings of Media and Persia
History books tell us that the Medo Persian Empire existed from 559-331BC. We can already note from this that Daniel’s God given vision was in the future!
v5-8: goat with a horn
- came from the W as if flying
- charged and trampled the 2-horned ram
- became very great
- at height of power, large horn broken off
- 4 other horns emerged
v9-12: horn emerged from one of the 4 horns of the goat
- started small but became great
- went toward the Beautiful Land
- reached the host of heavens
- threw some of the starry host to the earth
- set itself as great as the Prince of host
- took away daily sacrifice and brought low the sanctuary
- rebellion caused holy things over to it
- truth was thrown to the ground
What does this all mean?
God explains it to Daniel and to us!
We already noted that the ram was the Medo Persian Empire; then God explains in, v21-22: shaggy goat = Greek Empire
- horn was 1st king
- 4 horns = 4 new kingdoms
- 4 new kingdoms not as powerful as Greece
Let us pause here and again look at the history books.
Was there a Great Greek Empire?
Who was the great king who conquered Persia??
Alexander the Great (Greek King) conquered Persia and he ruled from 336-323BC. And guess what happened when Alexander the Great died in 323 B.C.? The Greek Empire was divided between 4 generals in Egypt, Syria, the present-day Turkish part of Asia Minor and Greece/Macedonia!
Now, as we had noted from v9-12, a greater horn emerged from one of the kingdoms after Alexander the Great.
v23-25 give us further descriptions of this king:
- there will be rebellion and wickedness
- king will be stern-faced and master of intrigue
- will become strong but not by his own power
- will cause devastation for his success
- will destroy mighty men and the holy people
- deceiving and claim superiority
- go against the Prince of princes
- will be destroyed, but not by human power
What does this all mean?
As stated in v26, the vision was about the distant future.
But the vision was given about 2500 years ago! Could that vision of a distant future be over?
Where are we? What time is it? Let’s see, Daniel is dead, the Babylonian, Medo Persian, and Greek Empires are dead, Alexander the Great and the 4 generals after him are dead, but what about the “stern-faced deceiving king”; has he lived and died also?
The major thing we need to note is that final king will take away the daily sacrifices!
The daily sacrifices of course is about the religious rites done in the Temple of God in Jerusalem. Is there still a Temple in Jerusalem??
And so, the last daily sacrifices were done when the Temple was destroyed! When was the Temple of God in Jerusalem destroyed and by whom??